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The King of Pop from Gambia

30 Nov -0001

Between the tables at the booth of Gambia in Hall 21 he sits: Jaliba Kuyateh (59). In his home country they call him only the "King of Kora". Since his childhood he plays the 21-string harp instrument. Today he belongs to the stars in Gambia and he traveled with his band already to the USA. "The Kora is an instrument that probably originated 350 years ago in Gambia," he says. "Today it is played in several West African countries."

Before his career as a musician, he worked as an English and math teacher at a primary school in Bakau, a small town on the coast of Gambia. "Several years of school and college," he says, "does not manage everyone there." In Bakau the river Gambia flows into the sea after winding for more than a thousand kilometers through the mountains and the savannah. Even in Bakau, a piece of wilderness continues: Here lies the holy crocodile basin of Kachikally. Crocodiles are revered here as sacred animals. Tourists are allowed to touch them, which is to bring luck. Kuyateh has not done it so far, he says, but he was lucky as well. "I'm coming around all over the world." He has also played in Berlin and Munich. However, at the ITB, he appears for the first time.

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